pumpkin cheesecake bars

I’ve always liked pumpkin. I like the way it tastes. I like the way it looks. Mostly, I like the season it comes in, fall.

The world just looks better this time of year, you know? The colors, the weather, the way you can see your breath in the morning but take your sweater off in the afternoon. This October, I’ve seen leaves fall in Seattle and Ohio and then back again in Illinois; I’ve sipped hot apple cider and walked on piles of crunchy leaves; I’ve felt crisp air and slept with the windows open. It’s been beautiful. And even though the days are darker as we edge closer to winter, I have to tell you: I love fall.

fall in chicagoland
crunching fall leaves
leaves wet on sidewalk

All that autumnal affection has to get channeled somewhere, and I’m happy to tell you I’ve found the place: pumpkin. Because listen, pumpkin is to recipes what fall is to the calendar. When I make something with pumpkin, it’s like I’m eating pure fall, and I like that. That’s why when the people behind The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Recipes sent me a copy of their cookbook recently, complete with little sticky tabs signaling the best recipes with pumpkin, I was an easy sell.

Beginning with pumpkin cheesecake bars.

everyday recipes farmer's almanac

Velvety and creamy, these bars start with a thick graham cracker crust and finish with a pumpkin filling as rich as cheesecake. You’re supposed to let them chill before slicing, but between us, I had a piece right out of the oven, warm and golden, and it was quite nice. The next day, I ate another piece, chilled, for breakfast—because it’s October after all, and I might as well eat the most of it.

pumpkin cheesecake bars

And if you too find yourself indoors one of these beautiful evenings, away from the colors and the leaves and the chill in the air, I sincerely hope it’s because you’re making this or something like it, with pumpkin, in the season I wish wouldn’t end.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Just slightly adapted from The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Recipes
Makes nine bars (although it depends on how you cut them)

1 package (1/3 pound) graham crackers
1/3 cup Sucanat (or packed brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Sucanat (or packed brown sugar)
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon white spelt (or regular) flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1.5 cups fresh pureed pumpkin (or 3/4 cup from a can)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square pan.

For crust: Break the crackers into a food processor. Add the Sucanat and cinnamon, and process into a fine meal. Add the melted butter and process again. Press the crust into the bottom of the buttered pan and slightly up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees (although, full disclosure, I completely forgot to do this).

For filling: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, Sucanat, egg, and egg yolk with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and stir. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Refrigerate for at least four hours before slicing.

*I thought this was super confusing. My box of organic graham crackers was 14.4 ounces, so a little under a pound, and it had three wrapped packages of crackers inside. I used one of those packages, plus a couple crackers from another.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Jacqui

    Eating the most of October. I like that.

  2. Lan

    funny you should mention pumpkin and autumn and how beautiful it outside… pumpkin seriously is the personification of autumn: warm orange hue and just pretty much EVERYWHERE during the month of october and november. i can’t say i LOVE me some pumpkin (as it is, i am a lukewarm fan of Fall) but pair it with chocolate and it makes it all bearable for me.

  3. Tim

    I am talking to you on the phone right now. How ironic.

  4. Alicia

    Yay to pumpkin! I’ve already cooked 3 pie pumpkins this year, which made a massive bowl of fresh pumpkin puree, which then made pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, pumpkin butter and… I’m forgetting something. BUT I still have two pie pumpkins waiting for me to saw them open, so looks like I’ll get to make these bars, which sound amazing!! And I LOVE that picture you took from the bottom of the hill of leaves. I have 100+ pictures that I’ve taken of fall. (Can you tell I’m WAY too excited about your love for pumpkins and fall?) I just love fall so much too.

  5. novelista barista

    wow that sounds absolutely amazing…. i am going to repost tihs on my blog and give you credit because i want everyone to see this!!!

  6. Jenny

    mmmm, yummy. And how easily the filling can be converted to gluten free. Thanks for sharing this. Can’t wait to try it!

  7. Maddie

    You’re so right that the world just looks better during autumn. There’s no other season in which I pick out “favorite trees” (or favorite anythings) and stop to stare every time I pass by them.

    And yes, the fact that pumpkin is put on a pedestal in fall doesn’t hurt, either. These look revelatory!

  8. MaryAnn

    I love the autumn, too. I have to try really hard to be in the moment & not dread the winter, though :-)
    This looks tremendously yummy…I have two pie pumpkins in my kitchen right now that my husband wants to carve into little kid pumpkins. Cute idea, but I hope I can talk him out of it so that I can cook them up & make this recipe & a host of other yummy things!
    Have a great weekend!

  9. Megan Gordon

    I wish the season wouldn’t end, too! We’ve gotten a little rain the past few days, and I’m even happy to see that…is the Farmer’s Almanac Cookbook new? I wasn’t aware they did one–maybe I’m out of the loop on this one. But it looks like fun, as do these bars. Happy Friday, my friend.

  10. Maria

    I fear I’m one of those strange people who only like the plainest of cheesecakes: tall, sturdy and naked.

    But I do love pumpkins, and exactly as you said – like eating fall. I think my favourite way is stirring it into oatmeal with maple syrup. This breakfast is my sign of soon-to-fall leaves and carries me through to snow.

  11. Anne Zimmerman

    I’m a big fall fan too, but I don’t get too many leaves in San Francisco. Thanks for the photos!

  12. Alicia

    Pumpkin ice cream! That’s what I forgot.

  13. Shannalee

    Jacqui, Ha, thanks!

    Lan, Hmm pumpkin and chocolate? Would you believe I’m not sure if I’ve had that ever?

    Tim, Is it?

    Alicia, WOAH! A girl after my own heart.

    Novelista, Great!

    Jenny, Great point about how easy this could be gluten-free!

    Maddie, Would love to talk about favorite trees sometime. I think I like Nashville’s magnolias and the Midwest’s maples and oaks best. : )

    MaryAnn, Ha, baby carved pumpkins vs. pumpkin pie…. I think I’d take your side, too! Although they would be very cute!

    Megan, You know, I’d never heard of the Farmer’s Almanac until a few weeks ago, so I’m not sure. But the Everyday Recipes edition is really nice, complete with prize-winning entries and stuff.

    Maria, I understand that. In the same way, I don’t especially love cheesecake. At all. However… these bars were to me what the tall, sturdy, plain kind is to you. : )

    Anne, You are so welcome!

    Alicia, Mmmmm!

  14. heather

    That last photo sold me — so dense and characteristic of a perfect cheesecake. We love pumpkin in Autumn, too. If were year-round, we’d have it from January to December. This would be dangerous around us, though I’m tempted to try it and replace some of the sugar with maple syrup.



  15. Shannalee

    Heather, Do it! I’d love to see a version of this with some of the sugar swapped, and maple syrup would complement the flavors so nicely!

  16. Alicia

    … and pumpkin pancakes. But now I have a whole new giant bowl of pumpkin puree, so I’ll stop documenting all my pumpkin baking now. :)

  17. TJ

    I’m such a pumpkin junkie (and an all the herbs that bring out the flavor of pumpkin junkie too)! Another recipe for me! Yay!

  18. Sues

    Delicious! I made a sweet potato cheesecake earlier this month, but now I’m pretty sure I need to make a pumpkin one, too :)

  19. Shannalee

    Alicia, Yummmmm!

    TJ, You are very welcome here! : )

    Sues, Sweet potato cheesecake sounds intriguing!

  20. Jarrelle

    yes, i will be making these this week for bake good friday!! i think that i am going to make the crust a chocolate crust!! i will let you know what everyone thinks!!! thanks for an amazing recipe!!

  21. Jenn

    I made these this weekend. They tasted amazing. I posted a link to your site on my food blog: http://choppedgarlic.posterous.com/.

    Thanks for yet another delicious recipe!

  22. Shannalee

    Jarrelle, Yes! Do it!

    Jenn, Yay! So glad you liked them!

  23. Rebecca

    Just found this via google. The recipe looks fantastic–my mom and I are making it tonight to take to our family Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  24. Shannalee

    Rebecca, I’d love to hear how it went!

  25. Mary

    What an awesome recipie. I doubled it for my boyfriends company potluck, but kept enough for us to have a few as well! Thank you so much for sharing this Thanksgiving delight!

  26. Pingback: for the unthankful (like me) | Food Loves Writing

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